Personal assistants — we’ve all been there, and we’ve all done that. Google Now, Apple’s Siri, Amazon Alexa, and Microsoft Cortana all serve as their customers’ right-hand aide to do as many tasks as a digital voice can handle, and they do them well.
But Yahoo feels left out. The company is said to be working on a personal voice assistant of their own named Index. This much was revealed in a portfolio of the company’s records being shown to potential buyers and investors.
Not many details are known, but Yahoo CEO Marissa Meyer is said to be the most animated about it when she talks of it than anything else. That’s understandable, of course — it’s an exciting field that will only grow from here on out.
But can Yahoo even pull it off? Even if they can, will it have been worth it? That’s the tough question they’re facing now. The company is said to be in dire straits, and while there are some investors ready to make a bid to buy them, they’re hesitant, and those bids likely won’t be for very much.
There are questions as to whether the money is even there to support the project. It might sound like a drop in the bucket for a big technology company like Yahoo, but artificial intelligence, machine learning and the like take a lot of time, money and research.
Even still, if Yahoo does have the resources, they still don’t have anything unique. Other companies have been there and done that. Those other companies also have their own popular, established platforms to push these services on. Microsoft’s Windows 10. Google’s Android and Search. Apple’s iPhones, iPads and Macbooks. Amazon’s Fire TVs and Kindle Fire tablets. What does Yahoo have?
We’re not going to count them out, of course. Millions of people still do visit their sites and use their apps, and Yahoo could easily find themselves in partnership with a company to have their own services built into an Android device as standard instead of Google’s. Whatever happens, though, it’s going to have to be more than a fringe offering if their goal is to make the big boys sweat.